the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Highly esteemed High Commissioner:
We are appealing to you regarding Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov, a refugee from Uzbekistan, who is currently in Turkey. On November 21, 2008, the Ankara office of the UNHCR registered Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov as a refugee. He was interviewed two times: on December 4, 2008 and April 16, 2009. He received a call from the UNHCR office in Ankara on May 13, 2009, and was informed that he was about to obtain the refugee status and required him to provide a statement on his illness. He has sent the statement immediately; however, no heard nothing back to date.
We are certain that Mr. High Commissioner, occupying such an esteemed and responsible position, is well aware of a strong stream of refugees originating from Uzbekistan alone, of all other former Soviet states, heading to Europe and other countries. This is no coincidence. Allow us to briefly explain it.
A mass exodus from our country has taken place twice between 1917 and 2012: following the establishment of the communist and Soviet rule in Central Asia and after the Islam Karimov regime ascended to power after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. During the last 23 years, Islam Karimov has applied every effort to turn the country into a ‘police state’ in the classical meaning of the term. It was for a reason that the UN Committee Against Torture concluded two times—in May 2002 and November 2007—that tortures are systematically and massively implemented in Uzbekistan.
The UN special rapporteur against torture Theo Van Boven came to a similar conclusion at the end of 2002, when he inspected penitentiary facilities in Uzbekistan. Tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people fled the country fearing repression. One of the two authors, Mr. Talib Yakubov, provided alternative reports to the UN Committee Against Torture (Geneva, Switzerland, 1999) and the UN Committee for Human Rights (New York, USA, 2001), while the Uzbek government was presenting its own reports.
In order to have a better understanding of the true scale of Uzbek
law-enforcement agencies’ repressions against citizens based on political and religious motives, it is sufficient to look at the List of Arrested
and Convicted for Political and Religious Motives in Uzbekistan between
December 1997 and December 2003. The list a) includes only a 6-year
period, b) the list exclude those repressed between 1990-1997 and
2004-2012. Although the level of repression and numbers of those repressed were not lower that those between 1997-2003:
Memorial, the Moscow-based human rights organization, is one of the
largest organizations monitoring persecution based on political and
religious motives in Central Asia. Memorial was involved in Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov’s case. We are therefore including a Memorial-issued document in English and Russian that highlights the causes and motives of Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov’s fleeing from Uzbekistan.
Over the course of the last several years, the Uzbek authorities have
stepped up assaults and attacks on refugees to kill them. Assassins are
hired for that purpose and sent to Russia, Europe and other countries.
Allows us to provide the examples of one assassination and one attempt on life:
- the assassination of Fuad Rustamkhodjayev, who was shot near his home in Ivanovo, Russia, on September 24, 2011. He was one of the leaders of the democratic opposition of Uzbekistan.
- there was an attempt to take Obidkhon Nazarov’s life on February 22, 2012: a killer shot him near the driveway of the house he was living in Stromsund, Sweden under political asylum obtained in 2005. He is still in coma in a hospital in this country.
The Uzbek authorities are exerting an enormous pressure on Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov’s relatives, demanding he return and voluntarily turn himself in. During of the latest visits, a police officer told them: “We know his address and it does not take us much to send someone to Turkey to eliminate him.” This is a daily practice these agencies resort to aiming at scare the population as much as possible.
Here is another example: in 1999, law-enforcing agencies searched the house of Tashkent-native Zafar Mavlyanov’s parents. Fearing an illegal arrest and unfair trial, Mr. Mavlyanov left for Holland. He obtained Dutch citizenship in 2004. He married a Dutch woman and has 4 children. However, officers from the local prosecutor’s office visit his parents every week demanding they tell their son to return to country and appear before a prosecutor.
Luckily, the Turkish authorities are not considering deporting, or even worse—extraditing, Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov to Uzbekistan. But given the criminal activities the Uzbek special services commit against their own citizens who voice even minor criticism of incumbent authorities. It is therefore imperative to remain alert given what police officers have done to his relatives.
Mr. High Commissioner!
Any form of expulsion of Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov from Turkey to Uzbekistan is unequivocally tantamount to exposing him to an illegal arrest, violent tortures, an unfair trial and long years of imprisonment, maybe even death. We believe this cannot be permitted. We are strongly convinced that only you and your organization are capable of preventing a very highly probable tragedy from befalling Mr. Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov
We are earnestly asking you to intervene into the case of the refugee Bakhriddin Khudoyenazarov, in order to prevent a probably tragedy and expedite the process of his refugee status of one seeking political asylum in a third country.
We sincerely hope for your understanding.
Ms. Mutabar Tadjibaeva,
President of the Association Internationale de Dèfense des Droits de I’homme «Club des CoeursArdents»;
Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders;
7 Square Brassens 91600, Savignysurorge, France.
Mr. TalibYakubov, an honorary president of the International Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan
16 rue Marcel Pajotin, Angers, 49000, France